Course Number: 90-854
Creating and “exercising” mathematical analysis in ways that inform policy and
decision making is an art. One can acquire some relevant skills by taking “methods”
classes or by reading and discussing case studies describing others’ models, but true
mastery comes only with practice, notably practice starting with a blank sheet of paper and
creating one’s own analysis from scratch. This course offers students the chance to
practice that art in a “high-feedback” environment.
The primary goal is to improve modeling judgment (e.g., good sense about what
should be included or excluded from a model or analysis), creativity (practice creating
models from whole cloth), and strategy (weaving analytical insights into a coherent
decision-relevant “story”). Students may also expand their repertoire of technical skills,
but that is not a primary objective, and specific methodological approaches will neither be
taught nor tested.
Jonathan P. Caulkins